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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Jun;6(12):1663-71.

An Aspergillus fumigatus alkaline protease mutant constructed by gene disruption is deficient in extracellular elastase activity.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Bacteriology, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, UK.


Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, usually caused by Aspergillus fumigatus, is a life-threatening condition of immunosuppressed patients. We have created a mutant strain of this fungus that lacks an extracellular alkaline protease (AFAlp). This was accomplished by transformation of A. fumigatus with a plasmid containing a selectable marker for hygromycin B resistance, and a 504 bp segment of the AFAlp gene, obtained by polymerase-chain-reaction-based amplification of A. fumigatus genomic DNA. Approximately 25% of transformants resulted from disruption of the AFAlp gene. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of proteins from the culture filtrate of a strain carrying the AFAlp gene disruption showed that it lacked a major protein of 33 kDa. Furthermore, in contrast to the culture filtrate from wild-type cells, the mutant had undetectable activity on azocollagen and elastin-Congo red, over a broad pH range. This shows that AFAlp accounts for most, if not all, of the extracellular elastinolytic activity of A. fumigatus, and that the mutant strain will be useful in assessing the role of AFAlp in pathogenicity.

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